LX v Pistons

at Southgate H.C.   on    June 6th 2013.

That ‘ageing Lion’, Brian Woolcott, is at the present time, ‘retired’ to his cave in order to lick his wounds, and to contemplate his early ‘return to battle’.  Thus, it has been my duty to re-establish his ‘pride’, once again; this time against the ‘cubs’ of Southgate.

This Thursday-night game, has always been ‘keenly fought’; usually by ‘young whippersnappers’ (who could be some 30 – 40 years younger), against ‘an ageing LX team’ of dubious fitness’. However, this occasion was different!  I had gathered together some of the “East’s 60s Finest”, in an effort to demonstrate that not all was lost, but balanced the encounter by including the oldest ‘long-jumping hockey player’ that has ever existed (in Chelmsford, anyway!)– GW!  

The game couldn’t start until we had agreed ‘to lend’ two of our “stars” to the opposition, due to ‘late arrivals’ - David ‘Psycho’ Sheridan and Ken ‘Overheads’ Wooding.   With two LXers as umpires, Frank Lockhart and Graham Martin, all the signs were there for a ‘great performance’ from LX, unfortunately, this was not to be! 

The difference in ages ‘shone through’. Whilst the Pistons forwards (average age 57) spread themselves with leisurely ease, around our D – and threatening to ‘take root’, the youthful LX forward line (average age 72!) gallivanted like spring lambs, in ‘aimless runs’, around the opposition half.

The LX had several ‘aspiring recruits’ dominating the main thrust of attack, which included the new EGM Captain and VC!  Whilst we controlled the centre of the ‘park’, it was in fact the deadly duo of Sheridan and Wooding, for the ‘Oppo’ that performed the better.  And from one of their attacks, an induced PC gave KW the chance to put the Pistons ‘in the lead’!

This was not was expected.  The tempo was picked up again by the LX midfield, and ‘chance after chance’ went begging as the Pistons rear-guard (led by John “Pinkie” Marriot, in goal) performed great heroics in keeping the ball out of their net. Finally (something to do with the laws of chance), the ball was driven into the goal by Tim Smith. One All!

Half time came, and went.  The LX manager decided to claim back ‘Psycho’ for LX, as the Pistons now had their ‘full quota’, and he was tired of being ‘hit’ by the ‘passes’ of the marauding Sheridan.  This made a difference!  We now were gaining ‘short corners’, almost at will, and from one of these the ‘goal-hanging left wing’, deflected the ball into the roof of the net.  Five minutes later, a ‘driving run’ by Inspector ‘SN’, bounced its way through the defence to again end up in the net, via a deflection, again, from the previous scorer. Three One

You might have thought that at this point we were going to surge ahead, but this never happened. Mr Wooding, still playing for the opposition, caused no-end of problems for our defence. I think it is fair to say that we didn’t give enough credit to the latent abilities of the wide-playing attack of our opposition; time and time again Goal ‘minder’ Cliff Peck had to demonstrate why he had been picked for the East 60s, along with ‘Woody’ Wood, Farmer Hodge, Inspector SN and Phil Hutley; collectively they were put under the cosh.  From one of these attacks Ken scored yet another goal! We were now only 3 – 2 up!

Back up the other end, our right attack had almost unlimited amount of ball, with our 78 year young, demonstrating  ‘ability’ for us all to aspire to; however, it was at this point that an unfortunate ‘malaise’ seemed to inflict every member of our team. This sickness, known in the trade as ‘the uncompleted pass’, became of ‘viral proportions’. It was so bad, that when our forth goal finally arrived (put away, eventually, by Psycho) we had had at least 15 attempts in the circle to either pass or shoot. We are now 4 – 2 ahead.

Our skipper, Kim Hansen, had up to now shown his ability to forage amongst the strikers, but without success. Finally, all his efforts were rewarded by a ‘well-won’, short corner. And from the resulting penalty, we scored a beautifully placed flick (by our ‘cricketing relic’ (Mr Smith)) that was driven, with great power, into the top right hand corner of the net. 5 – 2.

With five minutes left, and many ‘tired’ legs, you might be forgiven if you thought that there were no twists left in this drama. However, one amongst us had applied to play because he was celebrating a very special birthday, his 70th!  Graham George had started as centre forward for the LX, come off at half time for a rest, and returned on the side of the Pistons.  Just before the final whistle, yet another long ball down the field found the ‘camping’ Piston forwards, and after a series of valiant saves by our Keeper, the ball finally came to Graham. With great calm and aplomb, he crisply shot into the goal past the despairing efforts of the LX defence.  A Great way to celebrate a ‘70th’, especially as he had thought that at one time, he wouldn’t be playing beyond 6o!!  5- 3

Then the final whistle!  A game full of incident and ‘gravitas’ displayed by the umpires.  Of ‘Goals’, and ‘might have been’s ’.  But played in Great Spirit, and enjoyed by ‘one and all’. And, the ‘LXers’ scored all the goals!  As an extra point, it was great to see David ‘Razor’ Wilkinson back on the field of play – and moving well!

Team: Cliff Peck, Graham Wood, Phil Hutley, Nigel Spencer Nott, Andy Hodge, John Grinham, Kim Hansen, Tim Smith, Gerald Wilkinson, Graham George, David Gill, David Sheridan, Ken Wooding.

Scorers:- Smith (2) Gill (2) Sheridan  and for Pistons Wooding (2) and George.

Thanks to Graham Martin and Frank Lockhart, for their forbearance!

Match Report: David Gill